I do lead an interesting life, don’t I? That’s 3 surgeries since the start of this blog and 11 total over my lifetime. The good news–in addition to the fact that I got the infected appendix 12 hours before it ruptured (that’s an approximate guess by the doctor), is that having removed now 2 organs this calendar year, my deductible has been long since met and this one was free.
I am not 100% yet, but marshmallows don’t require much, so I made one more batch of those Dulce de Leche marshmallows I’ve been working on–and finally had a recipe I was happy with. Actually, I should say a process I was happy with, because after fiddling, it became clear the original recipe by Eileen Talanian in Marshmallows: Homemade Gourmet Treats was perfect, but the pan needed to be prepped differently. When I made the marshmallows as written they stuck in horrible clumps. It was without a doubt the most delectable, gooey mess ever. Not serve-able, but rather the kind of mess you use a spoon to eat within the privacy of your own home. I added powdered sugar and corn starch to the pan prep, and voila! Perfect marshmallows. So much for all the other tweaking I tried.
These marshmallows are without a doubt the best eating marshmallow I have made. My dirty little secret is that except for melting in hot chocolate, I am not the biggest marshmallow fan in the world. Unlike with, say, chocolate chip cookies, I can usually stop after one. Not these. I barely ate them because every time I picked them up I picked up more than one. And more than 2–and at least once way more than that (gulp). You might think they would be too sweet, but nope, as long as you like dulce de leche in the first place, they are perfect. Within my family, some prefer the cappuccino marshmallows –but my mom, John and I all prefer these Dulce de Leche ones. As far as anyone told me, John’s class really liked them too–who else was going to eat all those experiments?
Talanian believes in using a homemade marshmallow syrup instead of light corn syrup. While I have never noticed any problems with the marshmallows I’ve made with light corn syrup, I have used the homemade marshmallow syrup for Talanian’s recipes. If you do not want to make it, just substitute light corn syrup.
- ½ cup + 2 T cold water
- 1½ T vanilla
- 3 T (4 Knox packages) unflavored gelatin
- ¾ cup water
- 1¼ marshmallow syrup (see below)
- several pinches of salt
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup dulce de leche
- marshmallow coating (see below)
- Lightly spray the bottom and sides of a 9X13X2 or 11X15X1 pan, and then wipe the pan out, leaving only a very thin film of oil. Using a sifter, layer the bottom of the pan with a fairly thick layer of marshmallow coating. Let it hit the sides and corners of the pan as much as possible. Set aside.
- Measure your ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons water and vanilla. Dump the gelatin into your mixer bowl and set the liquid beside them.
- Place the remaining water, marshmallow syrup, salt and sugar into a heavy 4 qt pan--in that order. Stir twice. Bring to a boil over medium high heat; while waiting, dump the other liquid into the gelatin and whisk it together. Set the mixer bowl in the mixer and attach the whip.
- When the syrup boils, place a lid over it for 2 minutes to prevent crystals. Then remove the lid and increase the heat to high. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Heat the boiling sugar mixture to 250 F; do not stir.
- When it reaches 250 F, remove the thermometer and turn off the heat. Moving quickly but very carefully, pour the syrup into the mixer bowl with the mixer running on low speed. Slowly increase the speed to high and place a towel over the mixer to prevent being hit by splattering liquid. Whip on high for 10 minutes.
- While the marshmallow fluff is whipping, measure out the dulce de leche and place it in the microwave. Heat it for around 2 minutes on 40% power, until the caramel is easily whisked. You want to be able to pour it in a thin stream as opposed to dumping it all in a pile.
- When the mixer has been running for 10 minutes, lower your bowl (I like to do this with the mixer running as it helps remove some of the fluff from the whip attachment). Have a large spatula ready. Turn off the mixer--working quickly now--and remove the whip attachment, knocking as much fluff as possible back into the bowl (do not get too hung up on this, you are going to lose some fluff no matter what). Using the spatula, scrape half of the fluff into the prepared pan and smooth it as evenly as possible (it will wiggle around in the pan and you may not get exactly half, just go with it). Pour half of the dulce de leche in drizzles into the pan. Using a table knife, swirl the caramel into the fluff. Then scrape the remainder of the fluff into pan, once again smoothing it as evenly as possible (if necessary, one trick is to use wet hands). Drizzle the remainder of the dulce de leche all over the top of the fluff, and once again swirl it with a table knife. This marshmallow needs to set longer than some--find an out of the way place and let it set for at least 8 hours. Talanian says overnight--if it is humid, I would let it go 10 hours if possible.
- When the marshmallows have set, use a table knife to gently loosen the marshmallow cake from the sides of the pan. Sprinkle your marshmallow coating over a cutting board--I like a large wooden one. Using your fingers (you're going to get messy, just have clean hands and accept it) or a flexible turner, loosen the marshmallow cake from the bottom of the pan. Once you are certain it is loose, use both hands to gently remove the cake and place it on the prepared cutting board. Using a chef's knife, slice the marshmallows into squares. You may need to occasionally clean your knife or dredge it in the coating powder. Roll each marshmallow in the coating powder before storing, in a single layer, for up to a week.
- 2 cups water
- 5⅓ cups granulated cane sugar
- 1 t cream of tartar
- pinch of salt
- Place all of the ingredients into a 4 qt heavy pan (the recipe may be doubled or even tripled, but use a bigger pan in that case). Bring to a boil over medium high heat and cover with a lid for 2 minutes, in order to let the steam wash any crystals from the sides of the pan. Then remove the lid and insert a candy thermometer into the pan. Boil, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 140 F. Remove from the heat and let the syrup cool, without stirring or jostling, for 15 minutes. Ladle into clean jars and attach a lid. Talanian says you can store for up to 2 months, but I stored for up to 6 months without a problem (marshmallow making does not tend to be a summertime activity for me and I had some leftover last spring).
- Ignore any crystals that form at the bottom of the jar. The syrup will be very thick--heat gently in a pan of hot water or in the microwave before pouring for recipes. If using the syrup immediately, remember that it is warm and will cause your marshmallows liquid to boil faster.
- 1½ cups confectioner's sugar
- ½ cup cornstarch
- Whisk the ingredients together. Use for layering in the pan or to roll the set marshmallows in.
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